Photo Credit: John Peterson

Drake’s Takes: NBA Finals and the NBA Draft

June 17, 2022

This week’s Drake’s Takes covers the end of the NBA Finals and the upcoming NBA draft.

NBA Finals

Last night, the Golden State Warriors locked up the NBA title with a Game 6 win over Boston.

This was a bit disappointing for me, as I was hoping that the Celtics could at least force a Game 7, if not win the series.

But thankfully I wasn’t that invested in the result, and it was enjoyable to see the Warriors celebrate their fourth title in eight years. Stephen Curry finally got his Finals MVP after dropping 34 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in the closeout game.

This title wasn’t quite as enthralling as last year’s to me, when Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 50 points in a closeout game to win his first title at 26 years old. I was rooting for Celtics in some hopes to recapture that feeling, as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are very exciting players I would have loved to see take home the trophy.

Not many teams over the past decade have been better at crushing those dreams than the Golden State Warriors, though, and that’s something I can find a way to appreciate. When the Warriors are at their most dominant, it’s fun basketball to watch, but also the most frustrating when you’re rooting against them.

To me, the Warriors are the most painful epitome of the question, “Would you rather lose a blowout or a close game?”. On one hand, Curry and Klay Thompson could be dominating, and there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s the blowout in this example, regardless of the score. There, you can at least understand that you didn’t ever have a shot.

The “close game” is when you can slow their star players down, but then someone like Draymond Green or Otto Porter will have an unstoppable stretch on offense for no reason. I’d feel comfortable calling a dagger 3-pointer from Green one of the most painful in sports. It’s comparable to a close game because you’ve got yourself in a situation you can be happy with, perhaps with great odds of winning, yet you lose anyway.

Speaking on Green, he’s arguably the funniest presence when the Warriors are winning. He’s had his antics for the last three Golden State titles, and that continued here. He’s been on a tweeting spree this morning, expressing his surprise at not yet surpassing a million dollars in fines on his career, calling out Skip Bayless and otherwise reveling in his most recent championship.

I’m sure that excitement will continue over the next week as the Warriors return home and have their parade and everything else. It’s a great close to another great season. Both finals teams will have a great shot of returning next season, although as evidenced by both the Suns and Bucks exiting in the second round, it’ll be a tough road.

NBA Draft

And with the close of the NBA season, the draft approaches next week. 

The Orlando Magic have the top pick, still looking to escape the depths of the league. Auburn forward Jabari Smith is the favorite to be selected first overall right now, although there’s a few candidates. Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero fill out the rest of the likely top three picks, all of whom are great players.

I don’t have too much more to say on those three or the rest of the projected lottery picks, honestly. I am interested to see if any significant trades take place, and watching the draft will be enjoyable as always.

One more thing that will be worth watching for Nebraska fans is where former Husker guard Bryce McGowens lands. He’s been projected to go within the first half of the second round, with most mock drafts projecting him in the 30s.

Once he is picked, Nebraska will have had a player drafted to the league two years in a row. Dalano Banton was a second-round selection for the Toronto Raptors last year and didn’t have too bad of a season for a late-second round rookie. The fact that the Huskers have produced two NBA players in recent years is pretty impressive, although it obviously hasn’t translated to team success.

Wherever McGowens goes, he should have a shot of working his way into minutes. It’d be cool to see him at least find a small spot in a rotation like Banton did. Bryce’s brother and former Husker Trey McGowens will also be entering the league, and while he may not be a likely draft selection, he may still find a team and have a chance at a roster spot through the NBA’s Summer League, which starts in just a few weeks.

Nebraska will be proud to see its players continue to enter the league, but its main mission is still helping those league prospects and other players find team success while in college.

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